Best of our wild blogs: 4 Nov 13

Singapore's shores in a magazine for Singapore school children
from wild shores of singapore

Birdwatching in Bidadari (November 3)
from Rojak Librarian

More Observations on Red Junglefowl Behaviour
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Two More Nymphalinae Make it 308!
from Butterflies of Singapore

Long-tailed Macaque
from Monday Morgue

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Drainage system at Marine Parade Central market and food centre to be overhauled

Channel NewsAsia 3 Nov 13;

SINGAPORE: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said the market and food centre at Marine Parade Central will be closed for a few weeks early next year for its drainage system to be redesigned and overhauled.

The measure is meant to resolve recent problems of flooding at the market and food centre, which was built 37 years ago.

The market and food centre is located at the lowest point of Marine Parade Central.

Mr Goh, who is an MP for Marine Parade, made the comments in his Facebook page on Sunday afternoon following a visit to the centre in the morning.

The government's water and environment agencies, as well as grassroots leaders and the town council of the ward were with him on the visit.

Mr Goh said they will discuss with stallholders the best time to close the market and the issues that may arise from the closure.

As a temporary measure, kerbs will be built to keep rain water from flooding the aged drainage system.

Mr Goh noted that apart from not having enough capacity to cope with the high volume of rain water during heavy rains, the sewer pipes suffer from wear and tear. Improper discharge of waste from stalls has also added to the oil sludge and silt.

The market is a sold centre, with the lease expiring in October 2017, Mr Goh said. Stall holders had also turned down upgrading twice.

"But we decided that from the point of flooding, sanitation and sewerage drainage, the overhaul of the present drainage system cannot wait until the lease expires in October 2017," he added.

In nearby Chai Chee, the two pumps installed to ease flooding during heavy rains are reported to be serving their purpose.

Writing on his Facebook page on Sunday afternoon, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said both pumps kicked in when it rained.

He said water levels, which rose for about 15 to 20 minutes, subsided soon after.

Mr Tan, who is also an MP for Marine Parade which includes the Chai Chee area, thanked workers at the location, and volunteers who kept an eye on the flood situation.

- CNA/ac

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Malaysia: Study to harvest horseshoe crabs for medicinal purposes

Horseshoe crabs a lifesaver
Avila Geraldine and Laili Ismail New Straits Times 4 Nov 13;

BIOLOGICAL RESOURCE: Sabah govt and varsity carrying out research on local species for use in medical field

KOTA KINABALU: HORSESHOE crabs may not be a popular dish here, but its blood is highly sought after for its medicinal value.

This unique resource promises to put the country on the pharmaceutical map.
Horseshoe crabs are used by the pharmaceutical and medical industries to prevent products from being contaminated by endotoxins.

These products include intravenous drugs, vaccines, and implantable medical as well as dental devices for humans and animals.

At present, Limulus polyphemur, an American horseshoe crab species, is widely used to produce the endotoxin detection kit.

Three of the four crab species in the world, namely Tachypleus gigas, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda and Tachypleus tridentatus, can be found in the coastlines of Malaysia.
The Tachypleus tridentatus, especially, is abundant in Sabah waters.

Experts said this particular species was mentioned in British Pharmacopeia (the official collection of standards for UK medicinal products and pharmaceutical substances), as a source of Ameobocyte Lysate, a highly sensitive compound that is used to detect endotoxin contamination.

Recently, the state government, through the Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC) and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), signed a research agreement to study the population of Tachypleus tridentatus and the species' foraging areas in Pitas, Kuala Penyu, Tawau and Lahad Datu.
SaBC allocated RM60,000 for the university to conduct an 18-month research in areas where the local horseshoe crab population is reportedly centred.

Its director, Dr Abdul Fatah Amir, said the study would be a breakthrough for Malaysia, as no local horseshoe crab had been used for medical purposes.

"Information on the Malaysian horseshoe crab population, size and behaviour is lacking, and, therefore, should be gathered, documented and analysed for sustainable management of these unique resources.

"A better understanding of the range, population size and dynamics, as well as a combination of shoreline survey and tagging programme should be carried out."

Fatah said the information gathered at the conclusion of the project would benefit many and allow locals to generate income.

"Normally, these crabs are caught for consumption but it is not a popular delicacy. Sometimes, the crab shells are used as decorations.

"Once researchers have established its potential for medicine, the community will be involved in the harvesting of horseshoe crabs."

He said fishermen could also be involved in supplying horseshoe crabs to the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Fatah said blood could be drawn from the crab without killing it, before it is returned to its natural habitat unharmed.

He has called on the state government to consider making horseshoe crabs a protected biological resource.

"This will provide the government with accurate data to be used in the planning and development of the endotoxin detection kit industry."

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Malaysia: Fish net size stays

Koi Kye Lee and Balqis Lim New Straits Times 4 Nov 13;

REGULATION: Fishermen given notice of ruling 3 months earlier

PUTRAJAYA: THE ruling requiring fishermen to use fishing nets with mesh size bigger than 38mm stays.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the regulation, which was enforced on Friday, was to protect marine resources, not spoil the livelihood of trawler fishermen.

He was commenting on groups of fishermen in Selangor, Perak and Penang who were refusing to go out to sea in protest of the regulation's enforcement.

Ismail said the fishermen, who collectively own some 400 boats, could carry on with their protest as the Fisheries Department and Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) had given them a heads up on the ruling three months earlier.

"They know that the regulation has always been part of the Fisheries Act 1985. They know why it must be enforced. We will not withdraw this stance."

Ismail said fishermen who had been using nets with meshes smaller than 38mm were hauling in a lot of fry which could affect the country's fish supply in the future .

"These fry cannot be sold at markets and end up being used as fertiliser. Malaysia is only following the footsteps of other countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, which had already enforced a similar ruling."

He added that only 10 per cent of fishermen were using nets with mesh smaller than 38mm.
LKIM chairman Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim said the ongoing protests by fishermen in the three states had not caused a dip in the country's fish supply.

"The new ruling was to ensure sustainability of marine life, and these fishermen should be more responsible and aware that their action would cost the country and the people dearly in the long run."

Irmohizam said the fishermen had ample time to prepare themselves for the enforcement of the ruling. He said LKIM would not hesitate to engage new fishermen and import more fish should the need arise.

"There is no reason to worry about supply as we have more than 90,000 fishermen."

The regulation has existed since 1967, but it has not been implemented due to opposition from fishermen. Additional reporting by Phuah Ken Lin

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